Blog: Simon WarburtonChinese whispers

Simon Warburton | 11 August 2010

While trying to speak to BYD in China this morning (11 August) with a perfectly pleasant lady - who also perfectly and pleasantly wasn't having any of me talking to the media department of the automaker down the phone - I keyed up the renowned People's Daily in a bid to find some background on the manufacturer.

For anyone not familiar with this august publication - the official organ of the Communist Party of China (CPC) - it's a fascinating meander through a world I had long consigned to the cold war memory bin.

Here's one snippet from the People's paper: "Hold high the great banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics and strive for new victories in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects."

I particularly like the "moderately prosperous" which could apply to BYD at the moment as it wrestles with a sales target this year, er, 25% down on its original forecast.

And to be fair to the People's champion, it did contain a fair amount on BYD - although generally of the flag-waving variety.

I used to listen to Radio Moscow crackling across the airwaves in the days when Russia was part of the Soviet Union and an extraordinary way to spend a half hour it was.

Five-year plans, tractor production and wheat harvests - all exceeding the wildest expectations of the central planners - were delivered in measured tones by presenters speaking perfect - ironically American - English.

The People's Daily takes me back to those days. One final snapshot: "CPC has travelled a glorious path of struggle for the liberation of China and the happiness of the people, as well as the progressive cause of mankind."

Up to a point, Lord Copper.


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